ICC World Cup: Pakistan to face Proteas tomorrow

PESHAWAR: Pakistan will face South Africa in their next match of the ICC World Cup tomorrow (Sunday) at London.

The match will begin at 2:30am (PST). Both the teams will go into the match with nothing to lose given their poor performances in the world event so far. Pakistan are languishing at ninth place on the points table after five matches with a poor run rate, while South Africa’s position is even worse with their eighth positon on the table after six matches. They are above Pakistan on the table due to their better run rate.

The problems of both the teams are almost similar as they have failed to perform in all departments of the game. Prospects of both teams for going into the semi-finals are also negligible.

Even if Pakistan win all its four remaining matches against South Africa, New Zealand, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, then too it will have to rely upon the results of other teams. Even if Pakistan somehow won the remaining matches, it will be tough to qualify for the semi-final because of run-rate issue. It means that Pakistan will have to win all the remaining matches with considerable margin and then pray for other teams to win or lose according to Pakistan’s suitability.

The main point of criticism for Pakistan is the selection of eleven best players from the squad. Shoaib Malik and Hasan Ali are unlikely to get another match in the World Cup due to their consistent poor performances. The return of Haris Sohail to the playing eleven is most certain. It will be interesting to see whether the team management reverts to the wicket-taking ability of Shaheen Shah Afridi or Mohammad Hasnain will get his World Cup debut. Fans will also keep their fingers crossed on whether the fiery batsman Asif Ali will get to play against Proteas. If he is included, then Mohammad Hafeez will sit out for him. The formula of two specialist spinners seemed good for Pakistan, and they are most likely to stick with it given the Proteas’ vulnerabilities against the spin.

Pakistan squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Asif Ali, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz.

South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), JP Duminy, Beuran Hendricks, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Imran Tahir, Rassie van der Dussen.